I had a HUGE breakthrough last night, and I’m extremely proud of myself for it. I’ve really been feeling like I haven’t been having the best time, and that I’ve been in a bad mood way more than I have been in a good mood and that I’m really just not feeling content. And I’m hating that.
A few mornings ago I was heading to Bako National Park with some new friends and in the morning I woke up just not really in the best mood (like everyday it seems) and I was just not really enjoying things. We went for breakfast and then had to go catch a bus and when we got on I had the opportunity to move a little away from them to a row by myself. They were chatting and such and I wasn’t wanting to chat much so I was happy to have that space. As I was sitting by myself I basically was like “Okay Paige, this has lasted long enough. You need an attitude change and you need to start being happier about where you are, who you are with, who you are and how this experience is going”. And I did that! After a short nap on the bus, I woke up, and my attitude ENTIRELY changed. I ended up having an AWESOME rest of the afternoon. We got to the park and hiked through the jungle to this little beach and I remember just standing on these rocks with the ocean splashing right below my feet, my skin so sticky with bug spray and sweat, and my new friends laughing around me. I took a moment to take a deep breath, look around at the ocean, cliffs and jungle surrounding me, and such a strong feeling hit me: this is why you travel. I’ve been lacking that moment so far. That moment of validation in a way; the high that makes the lows/mundanes/pain-in-the-butt moments of travelling worth it. Here I am 29 days in and FINALLY I’m feeling this.
So after this very wonderful day, deliberately changed by myself (and for myself), when I got into bed, I pulled out my journal and wrote. (Which is something that I really haven’t been doing at all – another bad sign?). And I wrote and wrote and wrote and all of a sudden all of these pieces were falling together and everything was so clear all of a sudden and all of the solutions and all of the explanations all came pouring out onto my pages and these are the realizations:
I think that I’ve been feeling do down about everything (including who/how I am) because I have had ZERO time alone. I think this was a huge realization that in order for Paige to exist in society (apparently any society) she needs to be able to shut herself off from everything and everyone every once in a while. I think that I was feeling so shitty about myself because in real like I have alone time, then when I go out to work, with friends, etc. I am able to be my happiest, most energetic, engaging, enthusiastic, fun self. When I’m not those things, or when I’m tired, or hungry, or lazy or anything else, I’m alone in my apartment and I just go through the process of those things by myself. But here, in a way, I think I’ve just been feeling like I’m being observed through all of my moments or ways of being (I don’t know what to call it!!!!). So therefore, I feel like I’m so often not being the person that I love to be, and have really been getting down on myself for it. Which leads to …..
I NEED TO HAVE TIME TO MYSELF !!!!!!! I need to have my own time away from people, and it’s important to have an experience of my own, even if I am with other people. I have literally done NOTHING on my own. I want to read, and write, and nap and explore, and eat, and do yoga, and do nothing, and stare at the ceiling or out the window, or play with the kitten outside the door, or WHATEVER I WANT! Without any consideration of someone else, or any outside influence other than my own. I LOOOVE to spend time on my own, and I’m really really discovering that it is crucial for my functioning and happiness! (Also sometimes I just want to eat a shit ton of pizza and have no one judging me for paying waaaay to much for eating a “western” meal… and of course without the added ‘cheese kills!’ opinion from my vegan travel mate.)
I feel so much better. I feel so much more grounded. I feel like FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY I can breath deep, I can feel relaxed, I can write, and yoga, and process, and finally settle into the traveler Paige that I love to be. Without all these shitty side affects.
BED BUGS!!!! Okay. This was basically my worst nightmare. Perhaps as you know, I’ve had them before in my apartment. I won’t fully repeat myself, so I will just say this: I literally thought that it would be the end of the world if I ever got bedbugs again. That might sound ridiculous, but it was truly how I felt. Bedbugs took over my life for MONTHS. Weeks of being bitten and going to doctors about the mysterious rash (or welts, or hives, or ????), looking for them without finding them, days of packing up my apartment and weeks of living with my parents again while the exterminators took over my apartment, hundreds of dollars spent replacing all the things I threw out, weeks of putting my home back together, and months of literal nightmares afterwards. I thought for sure that by getting those bed bugs at home gave me enough good karma that that would be impossible to ever happen again…
BUT JUST KIDDING… here I was in a hostel dorm room being woken up by Laura, a friend made from Holland, holding a book with a bug on it saying “this is one, isn’t it.” By coincidence she also had bed bugs in her OWN apartment a few years back. So she knows EXACTLY. I had been getting bitten for days, and I knew instantly but I think that I was in denial and that I kept telling myself not to over react or be stupid and that it was all in my head. But the signs were all there!!! Waking up to bites, TONS of bites, bites all in a row, bites SOOOOO itchy and big that I literally could do nothing but stand with my legs apart and my arms away from my body to deal with how bad they were making my body feel.
When she held that up to me, I honestly just couldn’t believe it. We had this whole tour booked for our LAST day in Borneo before flying to West Malaysia that evening. We were going to go to the orangutan sanctuary, visit some traditional long houses, and then stop at a hot spring before returning! Basically the three things you MUST experience before leaving Sarawak (the province we were in). I crawled down from my bunk and just stood there. I couldn’t believe it. My worst nightmare coming true. Bianca was already awake for all of this, and the commotion woke the other two people in our 14 bed dorm. The other two had no clue how bad bed bugs were and didn’t take it seriously at first, but soon (after our respective momentary breakdowns) Laura and I got into gear and in 7 hours we had the entire problem completed and dealt with and put behind us. We went through each of our items, inspecting items that couldn’t be put in the wash, and placing them in our “safe bag” (a garbage bag that was for sure bug free!). We put everything aside to be washed (everything that we possibly could), and sprayed what we couldn’t with the hostels bed bug spray. Then we went to the Laundromat to wash and dry everything, including our bags, in 72 degrees. It was exhausting, and brutal. But I made it. I survived. One of my worst nightmares came true and I overcame my fears, and dealt with reality so efficiently and effectively.
I am really so proud of myself for how I dealt with that. And it may sound silly, but because of that I now I feel like I can forever so much more. My bites are healing, I haven’t had one sleepless night since, and I am okay.
At the end of all of this, I am okay.